New paper series from OK Policy sheds light on Oklahomans left behind by economic recovery

You’ve probably heard a lot of people saying recently that Oklahoma’s economy is strong again and that’s partially true. There are reasons to be optimistic about our economy. But too many Oklahomans are still struggling despite statewide progress. Some parts of Oklahoma and groups of Oklahomans still have high unemployment rates, the percentage of our adult population participating in the workforce is decreasing, and job creation in Oklahoma hasn’t kept pace with our population growth.  [More...]

The State of Work in Oklahoma: Finding Work (Part 1 of 3)

The State of Work in Oklahoma, a new paper series from OK Policy, sheds light on those Oklahomans who have been left behind by the economic recovery. This first paper, Finding Work, explores the difficulty many Oklahomans encounter when looking for work. [More...]

End of Session Round-Up: Missed opportunities to improve financial security

We told you in February that the Legislature would have several opportunities to improve the lives of hard-working Oklahomans and their families. Unfortunately, only a few of these measures passed. [More...]

Women still earn less than men, and it’s putting them at risk of living in poverty

Poverty in Oklahoma is consistently above the national average, but what you may not have noticed is the fact that women are more likely to experience poverty than men. Seventeen percent of women in Oklahoma live below the poverty line, compared to just 14.5 percent of men. In a time when families depend more than ever on women's wages, this is a troubling trend. [More...]

Occupational licenses could soon be within reach for more Oklahomans

Nearly 30 percent of the American workforce needs a license to do their job, so we should carefully examine the rules about who can, and can’t, get an occupational license. This is especially important for the justice-involved, a group that faces multiple barriers (including licensing restrictions) to employment and economic stability.  [More...]

Money matters for child development. Healthier finances means a healthier future for children in Oklahoma.

Policies that support low-income families improve the well-being of children. Policymakers have a number of options for improving economic prospects for Oklahoma’s working families and in turn improving health - including their mental health. Two practical changes are to restore the refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increase the minimum wage. Both of these policy changes would provide more economic stability for families, reducing the risk of childhood trauma and poor mental health outcomes that stem from these adverse experiences. Improving the financial well-being of families creates healthier and economically thriving communities. [More...]

Bill Watch: Opportunities to make Oklahomans better off economically this session

This session, the Legislature will have several opportunities to improve the lives of hard-working Oklahomans and their families. Legislators have filed bills to create second chances for the justice-involved, make sure workers have paid time off to care for their own health and the health of their loved ones, and restore the full value of the Earned Income Tax Credit. All of these would be great steps toward creating an Oklahoma that appropriately values and fairly rewards the labor of its citizens. [More...]

New economic rankings show Oklahoma falling further behind

There are quite a few reasons to be optimistic about Oklahoma this year. Unemployment is low and the state expects to have a budget surplus this year, the first in quite some time. But despite this good news, too many Oklahomans are still struggling to make ends meet and build a better future for themselves and their families. For the third straight year, Oklahoma has dropped in the Prosperity Now Scorecard rankings. This year, we rank 43rd in the financial health and overall well-being of our residents - that's down from 34th in 2016. [More...]

2019 Priority: Expand opportunities for occupational licenses

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. Economic opportunities are sharply limited for Oklahomans who have been involved in the criminal justice system. These Oklahomans face… Read more [More...]

OKPolicyCast 41: Fair Wages and Overtime for State Workers (with Sterling Zearley)

Gene_Perry_and_Sterling_Zearley The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry and produced by Gene Perry and Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover,… Read more [More...]